Peres reveals recipe for happiness

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am

'Peace is like love. You have to close your eyes a little bit'

Shimon Peres - former Israeli prime minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Labor party leader of his strife-torn nation - has some sage advice on peace and love.

At 80 years of age, the father of three and grandfather of six peddles a soft message in his bid for global peace.

Speaking before a packed audience in a Special Distinguished Lecture at City University yesterday, Mr Peres told of his secret for eternal happiness.

'Peace is like love. You have to close your eyes a little bit,' he said. 'If every couple looked at the other through a microscope or telescope we would never marry.

'So you have to live in a state of compromise and understanding and patience. It is not easy.'

His wide-ranging speech covered everything from nuclear capability and the invasion of Iraq to US TV show Sex and the City and the global empire of Hollywood.

The statesman also offered rare insight into the Middle East.

He was once described by the novelist and Nobel laureate Saul Bellow as a man 'who carries an aura - a shine of power - that was visible in the Kennedys'.

And when Mr Peres jointly won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize he established his position among the ranks of the world's most revered visionaries and leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King.

But yesterday he preferred to tread a more humble but provocative line.

In Hong Kong as part of a delegation promoting science and technology, Mr Peres called on the people of the city to strive for the future - and for freedom.

'Today human beings have in our two hands two options - on one hand the nuclear bomb to destroy the world, on the other hand the nanotechnology to build a new world from bottom to top,' he said.

'Now, who decides which of the two options we are going to use? The task of our generation is to hand over to the next generation a better world, a better human being, a better mood, in which we can arrive at the highest degree of democracy.

'Democracy is not freedom of expression but self-expression, where every person is contributing his talents, whether it be in science, in art, or in happiness. Today the future is in your hands and I hope you make good use of it.'